The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) recently revealed the 2021 Hall of Fame voting results, with no individuals making the cut for the ninth time ever.
It was the penultimate year on the ballot for Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds, and they all edged ever so slightly closer to that elusive 75% figure. Curt Schilling was just 16 votes shy of induction, although he asked to be removed from the ballot soon after.
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As for Bonds, he ended with 248 votes (61.8%), which is a minimal increase over the 60.8% he recorded last year.
With one year to go, we’re going to take a look at Bonds’ chances of making it into the Hall of Fame, as well as how his rookie/baseball card prices would react to the decision.
Why is Bonds a Unique Case?
Why is Barry Bonds a somewhat unique case in terms of his HoF contention?
In a word; steroids. Along with Clemens, the duo were the biggest stars from an era in which a number of high-profile players were believed to have used performance-enhancing drugs, resulting in an increased offensive output that has yet to be matched two decades on.
For example, Bonds still holds the record for most career home runs. He also has hit more home runs in a single season than any other player (73). Only Mark McGwire (70) and Sammy Sosa (66) have come close, with the former admitting to steroid use, and the latter being one of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in baseball’s 2003 survey testing.
(You’ll note that the trio also makes up the top six places on the all-time list.)
In any case, neither look likely to make it into the Hall of Fame. McGwire was on the ballot from 2007-2016, only ever getting as high as 23.7% of the vote and finishing with 12.3% in his final year of eligibility. Like Bonds, Sosa is in his ninth year and earned just 17% of this year’s vote, which is also his highest total since joining the ballot in 2013.
Unfortunately, in November of 2007, Bonds was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice charges in relation to the BALCO investigation. (As a direct consequence, Barry Bonds RCs sank in value). The case against Bonds stated he lied under oath about his alleged use of steroids.
However, as the all-time home runs leader, Bonds is clearly a unique case. He hasn’t been completely disregarded in the same way Sosa and McGwire have, and many voters from the BBWAA clearly believe that he has a case to be included in the Hall of Fame. It’s also worth mentioning that Bonds has never failed a steroid test, which is an important distinction.
Will Bonds Reach the HoF?
We’ll admit it. Bonds’ prospects don’t look great at the moment, especially as he only has one year to make it via traditional means. Generally, hovering around the 70% mark with a few years to go should be enough, but it looks to be insurmountable given past trends.
It’s worth mentioning that public votes tend to be more positive, and private votes skew conservatively.
On the other hand, Bonds first came onto the ballot with 36.2% of the vote in 2013, and the figure has risen steadily each year. Another half-decade or so and he would probably scrape in due to nostalgia (and the ridiculous numbers he put up), but there’s a time limit for a reason.
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All is not lost in that scenario, as there is a different route into the HoF that could prove to be a lifeline for the player.
The Veterans Committee can elect participants other than recently retired athletes. They’re split into the following four groupings:
- Today’s Game (1988–present)
- Modern Baseball (1970–1987)
- Golden Days (1950–1969)
- Early Baseball (1871–1949)
“Bonds is eligible as part of the ‘modern baseball’ era, and will represent a major headache for selectors over the next few years.”
It’s true that no players with clear steroid ties have made it in via the committee so far, but managers from the steroid era have been elected, as well as former commissioner Bud Selig. There’s no precedent as of yet, but if there was one player who they’d make an exception for, it could be Bonds.
What the HoF Means for Bonds RCs
The HoF will make or break Bonds’ cards in the long-term. Memories of the ‘steroid era’ are still too fresh, but his entry would have a significant impact on their asking prices, as well as their overall collectability.
Jeter 1993 SP RC graded PSA 9 went from $7k to $20k in about a year.
Take Derek Jeter. After entering the HoF, his rookie card bounce has been significant. His 1993 SP RC (graded PSA 9) was $7,000 a year ago and now goes for $20,000, giving some indication of the gains that can be seen in a short period of time.
Bonds’ 1987 O-Pee-Chee RC is a great example of how collectors and investors are beginning to warm to the player again. PSA 10 copies were going for roughly $2,000 in 2018, leaping to the $8,000-$10,000 range in two years. As of 2021, you’ll struggle to find a gem mint graded copy of the Canadian card for less than $16,000.
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Now imagine he’s allowed to enter the Hall of Fame, giving his stats an added air of legitimacy. It would be an astronomical rise and would make his RCs one of the best investment pieces in the present day.
The Future for Barry Bonds Rookie and Baseball Cards
Some would argue that it’s a case of when, not if, when it comes to Bonds and the Hall of Fame. Only one player ever has passed the 60% total and failed to make it, with the dubious honor held by former Dodgers first baseman Gil Hodges.
It could take a decade or longer to see more relaxed attitudes, and it’s unlikely that we’ll see numbers from the steroid era matched anytime soon. Bonds’ shadow will loom over MLB in the meantime, and the case for his addition will continue to grow stronger as time goes by.
If you are looking to take a shot at this strategy here are 5 Barry Bonds baseball cards that should explode in value when/if elected to the HOF.
Best Barry Bonds Baseball Cards To Buy:
1986 Topps Traded Tiffany RC #11T (buy on eBay)
1987 O-Pee-Chee RC #320 (buy on eBay)
1987 Leaf RC #219 (buy on eBay)
1987 Fleer RC #604 (buy on eBay)
1993 Topps Finest All-Stars Refractor #103 (buy on eBay)
1997 Flair Showcase Legacy Collection Row 0 /100 #25 (buy on eBay)
As with all investments, there’s an element of risk, but there’s good potential to see massive gains if the Committee decides to be lenient when looking at Bonds’ HoF status. Sure, he might have been on PEDs (allegedly), but the same was true for many of the others from his era.
How much is a Barry Bonds baseball card worth?
Barry Bonds baseball cards can be worth tens of thousands of dollars depending on the grade and card in question. For an estimated value of your Bonds baseball card email us at email@example.com.
What is the most expensive Barry Bonds rookie card?
The most valuable Barry Bonds baseball cards are the 1987 Barry Bonds O-Pee-Chee RC #320 and the 1986 Barry Bonds Topps Traded Tiffany RC #11T.
When was Barry Bonds rookie year?
Barry Bond's rookie year was 1986.
What is the most popular Barry Bonds baseball card?
The most popular Barry Bonds baseball card is the 1986 Topps Traded RC #11T.